It is reportedly known that China’s Warren Buffet-backed BYD is looking to expand. While it was already known that they are preparing to launch various electric vehicles in Europe this year. They also are looking out to start production. InsideEVs confirmed that BYD confirmed their prospect to start manufacturing.
Autocar spoke to Brian Yang, who is assistant general manager for BYD Europe, and when asked about possibly localizing production to Europe, he said, “We are seriously thinking about some localization plans. We don’t have a solid plan. We’ve just started to learn, to really understand the beliefs of our customers, and if everything goes well and we build up all the foundations and structure here, that could lead to some localization.”
BYD is a global leader when it comes to selling what in China is called “new energy vehicles” (or NEVs for short, a term that encompasses EVs, PHEVs, and fuel cell electric vehicles). In the first six months of 2022, BYD sold almost 650,000 NEVs, which it currently builds at its five factories, all of which are located in China. It also builds battery packs for other automakers’ EVs, including Tesla.
If BYD did go ahead with plans to build a plant in Europe, it could seek a partnership with an established automaker that’s already active on the Old Continent. This is nowhere near as common as European manufacturers signing joint ventures to help them build cars cheaper in China, but BYD isn’t the only automaker that has expressed a desire to build cars in Europe with the help of a local partner.
Nio, for instance, has also announced European manufacturing ambitions and it strongly suggested that it would work with a local OEM to make it happen. However, since Nio made this public, it has only confirmed the opening of its Nio Power Europe Plant in Hungary (focused on battery swapping stations, not building cars) and the announcement for an actual car manufacturing location and local partners is yet to come.
According to German media reports, the three series from BYD, planned for Europe are the all-electric SUV Tang EV that is already offered in Norway, the electric sedan Han EV, and the Atto 3. The latter model is a compact SUV sold in China as the Yuan Plus. The company does not want to name concrete sales targets for entering other European markets after Norway. Penny Peng, head of marketing at BYD Europe, has said at a press event in The Hague, that European customers would have to slowly get used to the new vehicle offering from China slowly. “We just have to be humble,” Peng said.